CDQs Very Much At Odds Over Allocation Issues

Controversy over whether Congress should revisit allocations
for the multi-million dollar Alaska community development quota program has been
brewing for months, with all six CDQs remaining firm in their stand.
Coastal Village Region Fund, which represents 20 communities
along the Kuskokwim River coast, is vowing to continue to seek a larger allocation,
on grounds that CVRF has more people, a higher rate of unemployment, a higher rate
of poverty, a greater number of distressed communities and lower average income
than other CDQ villages.
In its 2011 annual report, which was released in September, CVRF
says that over $10 million annually is going to other CDQ groups at the expense
of CVRF residents.
“All the CDQ groups have acknowledged in the past that the allocations
are flawed,” said CVRF executive director Morgen Crow, in a statement issued recently.
“It is time to have the strength to correct the mistakes of the past.
Crow’s arguments are finding no sympathy, however, among the
other five CDQs, and certainly not with Clem Tillion, the former Alaska fisheries
czar who was instrumental in putting the program together under the administration
of the late Gov. Walter J. Hickel.
Tillion says the Hickel administration made it plain that the
CDQ program would be based on what percentage of each CDQ’s population would actually
go to sea and fish the fishery. “I wanted the people of the Bering Sea to own the
Bering Sea and not just own it and hire people, but own it and put people on the
boats to fish it,” Tillion said. “For the population of the Bering Sea, the only
hope for employment is to actually fish, so I’m interested in how many of them are
on boats.”
A lot of these CDQs are making major investments now and if allocation
percentage start moving 10 -20 percent, some of them could end up in bankruptcy,
said Robin Samuelsen, chairman and chief executive officer of Bristol Bay Economic
Development Corp., that region’s CDQ.
“It’s natural for human beings to always want more, but it is
important to temper that hunger with recognition of what you have, what you need
and what is fair,” said Larry Cotter, chief executive officer of the Aleutian Pribilof
Island Community Development Association. While CVRF has the right to feel the way
they want to feel, Cotter said. “I don’t feel it is based on an attitude that recognizes
that all of us need to share.”